It was a game of two halves for the Ravens as they led 17-14 at halftime, but the Broncos outscored Baltimore 35-10 in the second half, including shutting them out in the third quarter.
Obviously the story of the game was Manning, as he completed 27 of 42 pass attempts for 462 yards and the seven touchdowns and it was all short to intermediate routes that got the Ravens. There was no one in the Ravens secondary that did not look up at some point and see an offensive player they were covering score a touchdown.
Early on, the safeties seemed to have trouble covering Broncos tight end Julius Thomas, as he was wide open on both of his touchdown receptions in the first half. Later on, it seemed the inability of the Ravens offense to stay on the field, hurt the Ravens defense’s ability to get off of the field as they simply looked gassed.
Five of Manning’s seven touchdown passes came in the second half, and if you were watching, it was easy to see that Baltimore’s defense was extremely tired. Want more proof? In the fourth quarter, Baltimore’s offense finally sustained a drive and completed that drive with a touchdown pass to undrafted free agent Marlon Brown to make the score 42-24. The Ravens defense looked much better after that series when they were finally able to actually sit on the sideline and rest a little bit.
Baltimore opened up the 2013 season with a Joe Flacco touchdown pass, and if you had FB Vonta Leach catching that pass, pat yourself on the back as Leach reeled in a three yard pass and fought his way in the endzone to give Baltimore an early 7-0 lead.
Leach continued to shine in the first half as he led the way on their second scoring driving of the first half with a great block the allowed Ray Rice to practically walk into the endzone from two yards out. Vonta is an All Pro fullback and he showed why last night, he made several key blocks and was a factor in the offense as a whole, not just the running game.
Tied at 14 and the first half winding down, Flacco threw a little out route to Dallas Clark inside the Bronco’s ten yard line that would have been an easy touchdown, but Clark dropped it as it hit him right in the hands and Baltimore had to settle for a field goal at the end of the half.
Once the two teams came back out for the second half, it was the Peyton Manning show, and the game got out of hand in a hurry.
The theme of the night for the Ravens offense was unfortunately that of the dropped pass as both Clark and Ed Dickson had several drops at the tight end position and the wide receivers, although not as many, had their fair share of them as well. That is obviously something that should get better, but it was pretty painful to watch so many passes hit receivers in the hands and fall to the ground.
Flacco finished the night completing 34 of 62 pass attempts for 362 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, while Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce combined for 58 yards rushing on 21 carries. Torrey smith led the receivers with 92 yards on four catches, while Clark reeled in seven grabs for 87 yards.
We will have plenty more analysis on this game in the coming days, so stay tuned to Ravens101 for all of the grimy details.
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